Shiraz fig brownies

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My favourite thing about these gluten-free brownies is the intense red-wine syrup (obviously, don't use your best plonk here), simmered until it almost starts to caramelise, which adds a heady fruitiness, and picks out those same notes in the dark chocolate.

Shiraz fig brownies
Figs, chocolate and wine: what's not to like about these shiraz fig brownies? Photo: William Meppem


500ml shiraz

75g ground walnuts or almonds

275g dark muscovado sugar

150g dark chocolate, 70 per cent, broken into pieces

200g unsalted butter, chopped

2 eggs, 60g each

200g soft dried figs, quartered

200g shelled walnut halves

175g gluten-free flour mix, brown or white

extra walnuts, figs and anise seeds to finish


1. Pour the shiraz into a saucepan and boil until only about 150 millilitres remain. The easiest way to do this is to weigh your saucepan first, then pour in the shiraz and boil. Then when it looks like it's cooked down by two-thirds, put the pan on the scales (zero it with a folded cloth on first if it's plastic topped) then check the weight. You want it to be the weight of the saucepan plus 150 grams.

2. Stir in the ground walnuts and sugar, return to a low heat until the sugar dissolves. Take the saucepan off the heat, stir in the chocolate and butter and leave to melt. Then beat in the eggs, stir in the figs and walnut halves and then fold in the gluten-free flour mix.

3. Line the base and sides of a deep, 20-centimetre square brownie tin with non-stick baking paper or foil. Spoon the mixture into the tin, press a scant layer of sliced figs, walnuts and anise seeds (if you like) into the top and bake at 180C, or 160C fan-forced for about 30 minutes or until the edges have set and the middle is still a bit wobbly. Leave to cool in the tin, preferably overnight, then it's ready to slice.

Tip: The chewiness of soft dried figs together with walnuts and anise seeds works well, but if you can't resist using fresh figs, poke three-quarters of a fresh fig in the top, cut-side upwards, instead of dried figs. 

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  • Main Ingredients - Nuts, Chocolate
  • Cuisine - Contemporary
  • Course - Dessert, Snacks
  • Occasion - Afternoon Tea, Morning/Afternoon Tea, Birthday, Valentine's Day, Picnic

3 comments so far

  • Is the gluten-free flour mix meant to be gluten-free brownie mix? Or straight gluten-free flour?

    Date and time
    February 12, 2016, 11:54AM
    • Use a straight gluten-free flour "mix", either white or brown: it's usually a blend of different starches, typically rice, tapioca, potato etc. However, it should be fine just with one, say cornflour (cornstarch) though I haven't tested that. Brownies, as someone said on Instagram, are the celiac's (but not the weight-watcher's) friend as it's all the other ingredients that help to hold them together like chocolate, butter, sugar and eggs.

      Dan Lepard
      Date and time
      February 12, 2016, 8:54PM
  • I made these at the weekend - and while they are very easy to make, I found that even after 40 mins in the oven, they were not quite cooked. And they also sank in the middle while cooling. As such, if I try this again, I'll use a larger pan which will allow for a less-deep brownie.

    Date and time
    February 16, 2016, 9:15AM

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